Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


LV                THE MONGOL CATACLYSM            147
of his immediate forbears D'Ohsson gives some details
which show that they were tributary to the Nuchens, the
Conquerors of the Cathayan line, who are also known
as the Kin dynasty. At the hands of the Nuchens a
member of the family of Chengiz, in punishment for the
act of a relation who had killed some of the royal officers,
was nailed to a wooden ass, a terrible punishment reserved
for rebel nomads. This deed called for vengeance, and
we first hear of Yissugay in the successful raid which
followed, when its leader, Khubilay, defeated a Kin army
and carried off rich booty. Khubilay's brother, Bartam
Bahadur,1 had four sons, of whom the third, Yissugay
Bahadur, was elected chief of the tribe. He was evidently
an active and brave chief who subjugated the neighbouring
dans and made them fight his battles. His growing
power alarmed the Kin dynasty,, which in pursuance of
its usual policy incited the Buyr-'Niir Tartars to attack
Yissugay, and the latter died' fighting against what was
probably an unexpected onslaught.
The Rise of Chengiz Khan, A.D. 1175-1206.—In A.D.
1162 a son was born to Yissugay, whom he named
Temuchin in memory of a chief whom he had slain, and
on his death, in A.D. 1175, this boy of thirteen succeeded
to the headship of the tribe. As might be supposed, the
little confederacy broke up, refusing to obey so young a
lad, and Temuchin, after suffering many hardships and
privations, was on one occasion taken prisoner. But he
was born under a lucky star, and gained victory after
victory until his reputation rivalled that of his father.
The Buyr-Nurs after falling on Yissugay had invaded
China, and the Kin Emperor induced the powerful tribe
of Keraits, who were Nestorian Christians, to attack them,
Toghril, the chief of the Keraits, who was known as Wang^
or " King," and who called himself Wang-Khan, was no
less a personage than the fabulous monarch so familiar
to medieval Europe as Prester John.2
1  Bahadur signifies *' brave," and it is an interesting fact that Khan Bahadur, one of
the titles awarded to-day by the Viceroy of India, is derived from this source.
2  This was one of the questions which deeply interested Sir Henry Yule j vide his
Marco Polo, vol. i. p. 231 (Cordier edition).   A section of the Karai—Karait or Kerait is
simply a plural form—inhabit the district of Turbat-i-Haydari to the south of Meshed,